Wales Tours

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Escorted tours of Wales

Despite only being a small country (roughly – and fittingly – equivalent in size to 2 million rugby pitches) Wales packs a lot into a small area, including picturesque mountain ranges, lush valleys and rugged coastline.

Sitting to the west of England and jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, Wales is part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Like the other devolved nations, Wales has its own devolved government, which operates from the Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) in Cardiff, the nation’s capital. 

Wales is officially listed as a bilingual country. Practically everyone speaks English, whilst around 25% of the population speak Welsh, a survivor of the ancient Celtic languages: road signs contain both Welsh and the English translation. Most of Wales’ population of just over 3 million live in the southern quarter of the country, where the major cities of Cardiff and Swansea are located. 

Although rightly famous for its outstanding natural beauty, Wales offers a lot more to visitors, including compelling culture and medieval castles. In fact, there are over 600 castles in Wales, more per square mile than any other country in the world! Several of Wales' castles were built by Edward I as part of his attempts to capture the country in the 13th and 14th centuries.   

Wales is known for its patron saint, St David, who the country celebrates annually on March 1st. The daffodil is Wales’ national flower and rugby union is by far the country’s most popular sport. Imagine a typical Welsh countryside scene and it will probably include sheep, and with good reason too – sheep outnumber people in Wales by around three to one! 

BEST TIME TO VISIT

One thing Wales isn’t famous for is good weather. The country tends to experience more than its fair share of rainfall, which is actually why the countryside is so green. The driest time of the year to visit is between April and August, but just don’t expect glorious sunshine! Go in spring to see the flowers – including the iconic daffodil – in colourful bloom.

Scenic North Wales and Chester
  • United Kingdom, British Isles, Wales
  • 3 excursions included
  • 6 meals included
  • Make your own way to Chester, and spend five days exploring north Wales from your four-star hotel
  • Enjoy a fascinating full-day excursion to Anglesey and mainland Wales, taking in two UNESCO-listed castles and Plas Newydd, home of the Marquess of Anglesey
  • Relaxing two-hour canal cruise on the UNESCO-listed Llangollen Canal across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the largest in the UK
Best seller
    • Tour Only
  • 5 days from: £500pp
  • 1 date available
  • 19 September 2021
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Things to see in Wales

Wales’ most popular natural attractions include Mount Snowdon, which is the country’s highest peak and sits within the picturesque Snowdonia National Park, in north Wales. Snowdon’s summit stands at 3,560 feet (1,085 metres) above sea level and dominates the north Wales skyline – it is also the tallest summit in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands. There are several routes to the top, ranging in difficulty, in addition to a scenic train ride. 

The Brecon Beacons are a mountain range in south Wales, and another designated national park. Boasting sweeping views and wide open spaces, the beacons offer wonderful walks for all abilities and ages.

Near Swansea is the Gower Peninsula, an idyllic, coastal stretch of land that was designated the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. To the west of the Gower is the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, a rugged, unspoiled stretch of coastline that is the third of Wales’ three national national parks.

Of the country’s many castles, perhaps the most well known is the walled Cardiff Castle, a Gothic Revival masterpiece that looms over the city centre. The original castle was constructed by Norman invaders in the 11th century on the site of a 3rd-century Roman fort.

Conwy, in the north, is home to a magnificent UNESCO-listed medieval castle that is still standing strong after more than 700 years. The castle is part of a series of fortifications that were built as part of Edward I’s 13th-century campaign to conquer Wales, and is framed by the distant dramatic peaks of Snowdonia. 

The nearby UNESCO-listed Caernarfon Castle was also built by Edward I and is recognised as one of the great fortified buildings of the Middle Ages. It took 47 years to complete and contained an entire town at its peak!

Also in the north, the UNESCO-listed Beaumaris Castle dates back to the 13th century too. However, construction of the castle was abandoned in the early 14th century when resources were diverted toward the invasion of Scotland. The unfinished castle was then occupied by the Welsh, taken back by the English and then reoccupied by forces loyal to Charles I during the English Civil War. Today, the castle remains as it was then: an unfinished masterpiece of near complete symmetry.

Other sites of interest in Wales include the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which was built by Thomas Telford in 1805. Today, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct remains unsurpassed in terms of engineering achievement and is the UK’s largest aqueduct, towering 126 feet (37 metres) above the River Dee, and running for 1007 feet (307 metres), and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right.  

If you like horticulture, be sure to check out the impressive Bodnant Garden. Founded in 1874, Bodnant Garden spans 80 acres and features plants from all over the world, including 22 Champion Trees, noted for their age and size. The garden is famous for its Laburnum arch, which is the longest in the UK and flowers in May and June every year

Food and drink

As you can probably imagine, lamb is very popular in Wales, especially in the form of lamb cawl, which is a slow-cooked broth made with leek and lamb. Leeks are also very popular in Wales and are eaten in many forms throughout the country, including quiche and soup. The meat-free Glamorgan sausage is another of Wales’s most popular dishes and is made from cheese, breadcrumbs and – yep, you guessed it – leeks. Bara brith – a dense bread made with dried fruit, tea and other spices – is another popular Welsh delicacy, often served buttered with a cup of tea. 

Perhaps the most famous Welsh dish is the Welsh rarebit. The name ‘rarebit’ derives from rabbit, and is a little misleading as the dish does not contain any rabbit. Welsh rarebit is in fact a deluxe iteration of cheese on toast: a rich, cheesy roux with mustard is poured over hot bread – delicious!

Wales FAQs

First holiday in Wales? Here are a few questions you might have. 

  • Wales isn't famous for its sunny climate, and tends to experience more than its fair share of rainfall. The driest time of the year to visit is between April and August, but just don’t expect glorious sunshine! Go in spring to see the flowers – including the iconic daffodil – in colourful bloom.

  • Wales is famous for its outstanding natural beauty. Some of the country's most visited natural sites include the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia National Park, the Gower Peninsula, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. 

    There are more than 600 castles in Wales - more per square mile than any other country on earth! In the north, there are a series of castles and fortifications that were built as part of Edward I's campaign to conquer Wales in the 13th and 14th centuries, including the castles at Conwy, Beaumaris and Caernarfon.  

    Capital city Cardiff is home to perhaps the country's most recognisable castle, an 11th-century Gothic Revival masterpiece that looms over the city centre.

    There are plenty of coastal and inland paths and footpaths, making Wales very popular with walkers and hikers of all ages and abilities. 

     

  • Wales is officially listed as a bilingual country. Practically everyone speaks English though, whilst around 25% of the population speak Welsh, a survivor of the ancient Celtic languages: road signs contain both Welsh and the English translation. 

  • Perhaps the most famous Welsh dish is the Welsh rarebit. The name ‘rarebit’ derives from rabbit, and is a little misleading as the dish does not contain any rabbit. Welsh rarebit is in fact a deluxe iteration of cheese on toast: a rich, cheesy roux with mustard is poured over hot bread – delicious!

    Lamb is also very popular in Wales, especially in the form of lamb cawl, which is a slow-cooked broth made with leek and lamb. Leeks are also enjoyed in many forms throughout the country, including quiche and soup.

  • Generally speaking, Wales is slightly cheaper to visit than England or Scotland, although prices do vary throughout the country.

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